There has been research recently that explores the suitability of online Wills. “Online Wills: Are they worth the paper they’re not written on” was authored by Simon Cox, co founder of Funeral Solution Expert, and explores the suitability of Wills which have been written using online services.
The research explores three main types of online will writing service:
- Once and done: better identified as an online DIY will with little to no manual intervention.
- Guided Journey: An online prequalification with questions or affirmative statements to determine if a “simple will” is suitable or not.
- Two Step: A pre-qualification process like ‘once and done’ approach, with the second step either behind a pay wall or with a follow up call to clarify points often validating whether a simple or more complex solution is needed.
The research highlights that pre-qualification for many online providers failed to fully consider all the factors which might make an individual’s needs “complex.” The subsequent Will does not fully account for complex needs such as marital status, children, assets, business and property ownership, overseas property investments and disinheritance.
It is estimated that that online wills account for around 5% of Wills written, around 60,000 Wills per year, although it could be as high as 150,000 over the last 18 months as a result of the pandemic.
Concerningly a sizeable proportion (23%) of consumers do not bother to read or even understand the terms of the will they are entering into and signing.
The research concludes that there will be a rise in contentious probate a result of Wills which may not provide enough protection for the testator or testatrix.
Contesting A Will
Those who can legally challenge a will include the following.
- Direct family members, including children or grandchildren.
- Beneficiaries (given that the previous Will includes their name).
- A person who relies on the testator financially.
- A creditor to whom the testator owes money.
If anyone believes the will is not legally valid, it’s their right to challenge it. However, only those listed can challenge how the estate is split up. The ‘estate’ is not simply any property the leaver owns. It also includes other aspects. For instance, their possessions, the contents of their bank accounts, building society and/or savings accounts, any investments (ISAs, premium bonds, etc), finally, any land they possess at the time of death.
This is the same if you contest online Wills or traditional Wills.
How We Can Help with Online Wills
Here at The Inheritance Experts we work with solicitors who have years of experience dealing with inheritance claims. This includes claims involving online wills. Contact us today by filling in our contact form. Or call us on 01614138763 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable experts.